2014: my year in interviews

December 31, 2014

2014 saw me move away from reviewing recorded music and concentrate on interviews – so again there will be no lists of the best albums from me.

Instead, here are some of my favourite interviews I recorded over the year – in case you missed them.

In January I spoke to Tarrus Riley and his manager Shane Brown at the same time about Tarrus’ new rocksteady album Love Situation – the combination made for a more revealing Tarrus interview than usual.

In February I got the chance to have a deep chat with Vaughn Benjamin of Midnite about everything from space travel to feminism and celebrated 25 years of Penthouse Records with Donovan Germain. That month also saw the English language publication of my Riddim interview with Luciano in Jamaica from the previous October.

March found me talking Scottish independence with Mungo’s Hifi and the importance of being uncertain with Clinton Fearon. I also wrote a column on reggae album sales which generated some requests for interviews with me (although Reggaeville seem to have removed the original link with all the comments on!)

April was a big month. It saw the return of United Reggae online magazine and my fifth interview with the ever interesting Perfect – as well as their publication of my Riddim feature on Pressure in English. Over at Reggaeville I spoke to another of my earliest interviewees Alpheus, plus his producer Roberto Sanchez, and recorded an epic 2 part conversation with the dubmaster Dennis Bovell.

May was all about unusual locations. I caught up with Randy Valentine at his underground music church, Jesse Royal at a Clarks shop while he was visiting the UK. I skyped Ziggi Recado in the Netherlands and Hezron in New York/JA (which was filmed without my knowledge!). I also had a second chat with legendary drummer Sly Dunbar, and the previous year’s two part interview with Black Roots in Bristol saw the light of day.

June offered the chance to talk philosophy with Anthony B boxing with Protoje and unity with most of Raging Fyah. I’ve included a recent sketch I drew of Anthony B. Watch out for more drawings in 2015…

July was the beginning of festival season so interview publication took a backseat while I was recording some new ones at Garance 2014. However, I did grab a moment with Maxi Priest to discuss his sound system days and his comeback album Easy To Love.

Having returned from reporting at Reggae Jam festival 2014 at the start of August it was time to get back to transcribing. My conversation with super-producer Gussie Clarke got a surprising number of views. I also visited Earl 16 at his house and to hear some real history from the seldom interviewed Carl Dawkins – a discussion that made me start to turn away from hyped new artists and think more about telling hidden stories of the past…

September was quiet enough to allow the publication of my chat at Garance with Cedric Myton about the ups and downs of being in Congos and the Royal Rasses. My interview with drum and bass duo Notis – recorded when they were in London with Jesse Royal – also appeared online. This month also saw the release of Alpheus’ Look In The Mirror video (where I make a brief appearance – filmed with my permission this time!)

Several of my Garance interviews came out in October. There was Iba Mahr, Alpheus and Roberto Sanchez recorded together for the first time, and my favourite, a feature length talk with with drummer deejay and film star Leroy Horsemouth Wallace.

In November I finally put the summer festival season to rest with my Garance piece on Errol Dunkley and my Reggaejam interview with Righteous Child. Also from earlier in the summer came a chat with Wailing Souls – recorded after their August gig at Jazz Cafe.

In December there was only one interview – but it was a long one! I finally got the chance to release the final chapter in this year’s trilogy of conversations with foundation drummers. I hope you enjoy my three part interview with Studio 1 and In Crowd legend Fil Callender. Thanks for reading and have a great 2015…